‘This is the night mail crossing the border, Bringing the cheque and the postal order’.  As many will know this is the opening of W.H. Auden’s famous poem, ‘The Night Mail’; the poem I most remember from my school days, and one which I can still recite.  I wonder if, having celebrated National Poetry Day on Thursday, your son or daughter will have been inspired to engage with poetry – or perhaps better still, put pen to paper and compose something original.  All teachers were encouraged to start lessons with a poem, with Mr Carr offering to provide inspiration to those for whom; such a lesson starter is out of their comfort zone.

There have been plenty of other events taking place this week in the Senior School.  On Monday the year 11 pupils benefitted from 20 minute mock interviews conducted by Rotarians from the Colchester Rotary Club.  I chatted with some of the Rotarians at the end of the afternoon, and all were most complimentary of our pupils.  As yet another key part of our CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) calendar, I must thank Mr Rayner for having organised this event.  To follow on from this, year 11 pupils will have the opportunity to make a CEIAG appointment for the fast approaching Parents’ Consultation Evening, which is scheduled for Thursday 15th October.  Needless to state, the other key date which is fast approaching for year 11 pupils, is the Trial Examination week scheduled for the week commencing Monday 9th November.

As I am sure all of you are aware, Saturday just gone saw our first Open Day for the current academic year.  As many of you will know, my vision is for Colchester High School to be seen within the community as a centre of excellence which boasts the best possible teachers and support staff.  Furthermore, that the school provides outstanding education both within and outside of the classroom.  I am inclined to think perhaps this vision is spreading, as the school received a record number of visiting prospective parents at the Open Day.  I am immensely grateful to all those pupils who donned their weekday uniform in order to help out at the Open Day as either classroom helpers or tour guides.  There were a number of compliments from visitors about the pupils’ good manners, appearance, and willingness to help – qualities which I believe should be seen as important by all CHS pupils.  Visitors were also treated to moving speeches given by the Head and Deputy Head Boys and Girls, who spoke of their experiences of the school which, for three of the four, included their reminiscences of their days in the nursery.  The Deputy Head Boy recounted his involvement in the school production of ‘Bugsy Malone’, for which he gained a reputation for improvising his lines.  Audiences chuckled when he stated his defence was that he used all the right lines, but not necessarily in the right order!

The Sixth Form has once again been busy, it having hosted a year 13 Parents’ Consultation Evening, as well as a ‘Meet the Year 12 parents’ informal evening.  I am sure Dr Georgiou will make reference to this in his piece for the newsletter this week however, I will just mention that reviewing the written feedback forms indicated the evening was considered ‘excellent’ in many respects by an overwhelming majority.

Once again I have been in and out of lessons as part of the Behaviour & Engagement check, during which I had the pleasure of seeing the year 10 Art students working on their imitation Henry Moore artwork, as well as those revisiting their ‘pen and wash’ work to improve the final version. I was very impressed with all the artwork I had opportunity both to see and discuss, with the budding artists.  In terms of focusing on ‘Teaching & Learning’, I have met with those staff who comprise the newly formed whole school ‘Teaching and Learning Team’, TLT, whose initial focus will be to promote sharing good practice; a key factor in maintaining the highest possible standards of education.

Additionally of significance for this week, and worthy of mention, is the fact that it is Dyslexia Awareness Week.  The British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action, and the Dyslexia SLD Trust all provide helpful resources both for staff CPD, and for classroom support of those with literacy difficulties.  As a result of this week, the Head of the SEN department Mrs Allen, and I, will conduct an audit to ensure CHS classrooms are dyslexia friendly.  An initial look at the areas for consideration would indicate the school is already delivering in terms of the environment, study strategies and confidence building.

And finally…congratulations go to Year 9 and 10 pupils (not to mention the staff coaching the team) who played in the Rugby Union ‘friendly’ against Gosfield School; well done for a convincing 27 vs 47 win.

Colchester High School